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Item - The Castle of Doom

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Series: Your AMAZING Adventures — no. 1
Author: Brightfield, Richard
Illustrator: Abrams, Paul
Date: 1984
ISBNs: 0812560361 / 9780812560367
081256037X / 9780812560374 (Canadian edition)
Length: 127 pages
Number of Endings: 19 (only one victory)
User Summary: The king's daughter has been kidnapped by an evil wizard and locked in The Castle of Doom. Together with your friends, you must journey to the castle and rescue her.
Guillermo's Thoughts:

I find it somewhat surprising that, despite the fact that the author of this series is one of the most prolific CYOA writers, nobody has yet commented on any of his Your Amazing Adventures books. Indeed, despite having been issued by a major publisher, these books seem to be pretty obscure. I was able to find an unread copy of The Castle of Doom in mint condition more than thirty years after it came off the press. If the book is anything to go by, it's a shame this series has received so little attention. I found the experience of reading it nearly as satisfying as Brightfield's work on the Escape from the Kingdom of Frome series.

The branching path interactivity does not stem from making choices, but from solving rather intricate mazes interspersed every few pages. Each maze has two or three exits, but only one allows the story to proceed normally. Making a wrong turn will always lead to a negative ending. Since all the endings are in the last few pages of the book, it becomes too easy for the reader to realize which of the maze solutions is the correct one each time (though the difficulty of the mazes often makes up for this). There is only one successful path to the book, which involves reading through most of the text.

The story feels a lot like a D&D adventure. The book is fast-paced and fun to read. I especially appreciate that the reader's female companion character is portrayed as tough and dependable instead of the crybaby the reader is forced to play in Circus of Fear, for example. The story is so imaginatively written that I even enjoyed many of the failure endings quite a bit. Paul Abrams' artwork is quite good for the most part, and does a lot to make the adventure come alive for the reader.

I guess whether you will like this or not depends on how much you like solving mazes. Personally, I had quite a bit of fun solving the adventure and plan to read more books in the series.

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